who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. Jimmy Wales: UK needs US-style
first amendment to
2. Guardian Launches
‘SecureDrop’ System for
An Appeal for More Whistleblowers
4. 'Mass Surveillance at Its
Most Severe': Mobile Phone
Giant Reveals Direct Govt
Whistleblower: Snowden Never Had Access to the
This is the Nederlog of June
8. It is an ordinary crisis log.
It is a Sunday, and indeed Whitsuntide, but I did find five items that
follow. Also, there is no theoretical exposition of the crisis today:
This will have to wait till later. Finally, the present crisis report
is uploaded considerably earlier than is usual.
Jimmy Wales: UK needs US-style first amendment to protect whistleblowers
item is an article by Kevin Rawlinson and Mark Townsend on The
This starts as follows:
In fact, this is from a
conference organized by The Guardian and Don't Spy On Us, which is
dedicated to end the mass surveillance of the web and mobile phones.
Britain should introduce
its own constitution with an enshrined right to freedom of speech
similar to that of the US to ensure that whistleblowers can come
forward, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has said.
He said that doing so
would help prevent governments from cracking down on media
organisations that wanted to publish potentially damaging stories.
"One of the big
differences between the US and the UK is the first amendment, so the
idea of smashing computers in the basement of the New York Times is
basically inconceivable," he said, referring to the British
government's demand that the Guardian destroy hard-drives used to store
"One of the important
things about the US is that something like the first amendment and the
rest of the Bill of Rights is very difficult to change – whereas here,
it's not so easy to construct something that's difficult to change.
Parliament can ultimately change anything with a majority vote and
Also, while I am sympathetic to Wales's proposal, I much doubt it will
work: The British parliament seems mostly corrupt; the British
government seems to love the GCHQ; and so there seems not to be the
necessary legal or parliamentarian clout to do this. Besides, although
the US has laws that formally assure freedom of speech, Snowden could
not come forward without being arrested. (Indeed, the Bill of Rights
seem to have mostly disappeared in the US - indeed not formally, but
But there was more, such as a video address by Stephen Fry:
Yes, indeed - and they
do not have a good cause, and are not concerned with "terrorism": The
US and British governments are concerned with getting total control
over everyone, or indeed - since they currently have it - keeping
and extending this. (Yes, I am not an optimist about this.)
The day started with a video address from performer Stephen Fry, who called
the government's actions in spying on its own citizens "squalid and
In a prerecorded address,
he said: "The idea of having your letters read by somebody, your
telegrams, your faxes, your postcards intercepted, was always
considered one of the meanest, most beastly things a human being could
do, and for a government to do, without good cause."
Launches ‘SecureDrop’ System for Whistle-Blowers
item is an article by James Ball on The Guardian:
This starts as
The Guardian has launched
a secure platform for whistleblowers to securely submit confidential
documents to the newspaper’s reporters.
The launch comes a year
to the day since the
Guardian posted the first of a series of NSA documents leaked by
former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, sparking a worldwide debate on
surveillance, privacy, and civil liberties.
Free speech and privacy
groups alongside popular sites including Reddit, BoingBoing and Imgur,
are marking the day with a Reset the Net campaign, encouraging internet
users to take direct action to secure their privacy online. Several
technology companies are also expected to announce new steps to protect
users’ privacy over the course of the day.
The Net" see
the last link and the day before yesterday.
And I like it that it now at least has become practically feasible to
address the Guardian as a whistleblower. As to that SecureDrop system:
You can get more information here, and it may help
that the system "is installed outside of the UK", as indeed seems quite
It makes use of
well-known anonymising technology such as the Tor network and the Tails
operating system, which was used by journalists working on the Snowden
The New Yorker, the US
not-for-profit investigative newsroom ProPublica, and the Pierre
Omidyar-backed startup The Intercept are among the newsrooms already
making use of the SecureDrop system.
The SecureDrop platform
was initially developed by the US developer and activist Aaron Swartz,
who killed himself in 2013 when facing charges under the Computer Fraud
and Abuse Act for the mass downloading of academic articles.
Then again (and I think: realistically):
While the system
is far more secure than, for example, emailing information to a
reporter, SecureDrop specifically does not promise 100% security.
There is considerably more
under the last dotted link.
3. An Appeal for More Whistleblowers
item is an article by Norman Solomon on Consortiumnews:
This starts as
Blowing the whistle on
wrongdoing creates a moral frequency that vast numbers of people are
eager to hear. We don’t want our lives, communities, country and world
continually damaged by the deadening silences of fear and conformity.
I’ve met many
whistleblowers over the years, and they’ve been extraordinarily
ordinary. None were applying for halos or sainthood. All experienced
anguish before deciding that continuous inaction had a price that was
too high. All suffered negative consequences as well as relief after
they spoke up and took action. All made the world better with their
I doubt it. As to the
Who is "we"? I am
quite certain that this does not refer to the majority of men.
I know this from my own experiences (the Dutch in vast majority really
do not - I repeat: not - want to hear about the system
that makes their country the Colombia of Europe and for
over 25 years has been turning over at least 10 billions of
dollars a year illegally, in soft drugs alone,
all protected by mayors, aldermen, council members, politicians,
policemen and judges, who all are, or at least pose as if they
are, sincere Dutch patriots, who all protect the drugs mafia ) while
the "majority of men", in my experience, are neither intelligent nor
brave, although they may be cunning and crafty, for their own
interests, and they also like to pose very much as if they are a lot
better than they are.
Besides: it is a
year now since Snowden's revelations started, and all the
governments that were spying on their own and other populations still
are spying - and relatively few ordinary men seem to care (and some of
it is quite difficult to understand, I do agree).
As to the second
paragraph: Except for myself, I've never met a whistleblower, but it is
absolute nonsense that the people who were whistleblowers are "extraordinarily ordinary": They are not.
I am not saying they
are geniuses or moral heroes, or indeed would want to be treated as if
they are; I am saying that just as in WW II very few
people did have the courage to join the real resistance (six
time more Dutchmen served in the German SS as were in the Dutch
resistance, although it seems nearly all Dutchmen insisted on being
Heroes From The Resistance from May 5, 1945 onwards, which is the day
of liberation in Holland - at least, that is what a former prime
minister said, who also knew that quite a few of the valiant Dutch had
helped to kill over 1% of their own population, namely for being "of
the wrong race"), it is also true that very few people have the courage
and the character to be a whistleblower: most men do not like to risk
their own incomes or personal safety.
This also explains
why there are so few of them: You must be not a quite ordinary
person so as to become a whistleblower. (And I think you are not quite ordinary, and you also are a better man
or woman than most of the ordinary men and women who surround
whistleblowers, who all also know what you know, but who all insist on not
telling it to the public, even though it is much in the public
interest, in the end because they care more for themselves and their
careers than they do for others.)
There is a good
quotation from Ellsberg (one of the few who had the courage!):
“All governments lie,”
Ellsberg says in a video statement released
for the launch of ExposeFacts, “and they all like to work in the dark
as far as the public is concerned, in terms of their own
decision-making, their planning — and to be able to allege, falsely,
unanimity in addressing their problems, as if no one who had knowledge
of the full facts inside could disagree with the policy the president
or the leader of the state is announcing.”
Ellsberg adds: “A country
that wants to be a democracy has to be able to penetrate that secrecy,
with the help of conscientious individuals who understand in this
country that their duty to the Constitution and to the civil liberties
and to the welfare of this country definitely surmount their obligation
to their bosses, to a given administration, or in some cases to their
promise of secrecy.”
True. But Solomon is
mistaken about whistleblowers, it seems mostly because he does not want
to offend the feelings of the very ordinary men
who would never dare to act as the rare whistleblowers did.
4. 'Mass Surveillance at Its Most
Severe': Mobile Phone Giant Reveals Direct Govt Wiretapping
item is an article by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as
Mobile phone giant
Vodafone revealed Friday that in some countries where it operates,
governments have a direct and permanent link to their customers'
communications, allowing them "unfettered access" that allows for
"uncontrolled mass surveillance."
company made that information public in its first Law
Enforcement Disclosure Report.
While stating that it
respects its users' right to privacy, the company adds that "in every
country in which we operate, we have to abide by the laws of those
countries which require us to disclose information about our customers
to law enforcement agencies or other government authorities, or to
block or restrict access to certain services."
The report reveals 29
countries whose governments requested user data between 1 April 2013
and 31 March 2014, though Vodafone is prevented by law from revealing
the number of such requests for some of those countries. The government
requests could come in the form of wiretapping, also known as "lawful
interception," which Vodafone's report calls "one of the most intrusive
forms of law enforcement assistance." The demands could also be for
"communications data," or metadata.
That is something and it is
good Vodafone is reporting this. There is considerably more in the article under the last dotted link, including a report on some countries where
the governments have direct access to a phone network to spy
directly on their people.
5. NSA Whistleblower: Snowden Never Had Access
to the JUICIEST
item is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:
This starts as follows,
and is basically a record of a long recent conversation Washington's
Blog had with Russell
Tice. The colors are as in the original:
NSA Spying On Congress, Admirals, Lawyers … Content As Well
As Metadata … Cheney Was Running the Show
NSA whistleblower Russel
Tice was a key
source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush
administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping.
Tice told PBS and other
media that the NSA is spying
on – and blackmailing – top government officials and military officers,
Court Justices, highly-ranked generals, Colin Powell and other State
Department personnel, and many other top officials:
There is also this:
They still do. And there is
quite a bit more that is quite interesting that shows that - in Tice's
opinion - there are levels and levels of secrecy, and Edward Snowden
and the journalists who helped him did very well with the information
Snowden had, but Snowden does not know everything, and indeed very
Washington’s Blog called
Tice to find out more about what he saw when he was at NSA.
We now know that NSA was wiretapping [Senator] Frank Church and another
Senator. [That has been confirmed.]
And that got out by
accident. All the information the NSA had back then – and probably
many other senators and important people too, back in the 70s – they shredded
and they destroyed all of that evidence. As much as
they could find, they destroyed it all. By accident, something popped
up 40 years later.
And, in fact, they were
asked 40 years ago whether NSA had bugged Congress. And, of course,
they lied. They lied through their teeth.
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, that the governors do not
rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
It is more proper
that law should govern than any one of the
citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the
supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to
be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I
from is quite pertinent.)
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: